Guest article by: Pheebs888

As a hockey fan, I truly enjoy not only playing and watching the sport but also collecting the cards. Since I moved to the United Kingdom in 2002, both the playing and watching have been quite difficult to accomplish, and I must admit that the collecting side of it is not easy either. Think of all the things you need as a collector, regular supply of boxes and packs to bust, top loaders, price guides, storage boxes, etc… Finding all this can prove a real challenge in Europe, although I should not speak for every other country so I will say it is not easy in England.

Of course, packs and boxes can always be found on eBay if you are willing to pay the shipping charges and take the risk of being scammed by someone who knowing you are overseas just decides not to ship your box being oh so very aware that it will prove tricky for you to do anything about it. Having been had you will leave negative feedback only to be slapped with retaliatory feedback…the joys of eBay. I have personally decided to avoid buying from there from now on after an incident which was the final drop in the bucket (word of advice do not buy from jegr80 who had reasonable feedback when I decided to bid but seems to have taken a turn for the worst).

To feed your card addiction, I suggest you use websites which are willing to send overseas. A simple Google search will allow you to find such websites, but the one I am dealing with on a regular basis is Cards By The Box. There was a time when the British Elite League was producing hockey cards of their players but these now seem to have disappeared, along with the London Knights and the London Racers. One could have hoped that there would have been hockey cards on sale at the NHL Premiere (the two game series played by the Kings and the Ducks), after all, everything else was there; caps, pucks, t-shirts, jumpers, and mini-sticks, but no cards. To the NHL marketing department: if you are reading this and want your sport to make it in Europe you might want to consider catering for the collectors amongst the fan base.

As for top loaders, storage boxes and A4 9 pocket pages, these are as rare as gold dust in stores. I cannot for the life of me find a hobby shop in London that stocks all these essentials! Once again I had to use Ebay but for those items I have found a UK based seller with 100% feedback. Their ID is Tradincardsuppliesuk and is well worth the look! However, if you want to pay even less go to their own website which can be found at Trading Card Supplies UK. Only problem is, they ship solely to UK addresses, so apologies if you are from somewhere else in Europe. Although this site fulfills most of my needs as a collector, the thick top loaders they sell are far too thick for jersey cards and I feel like my cards are not protected in an optimal way. If someone knows where I could get standard jersey cards top loaders in Europe, please let me know!

For price guides, forget about buying a printed Beckett through the post, by the time it reaches you, it will be out of date. By necessity, I have therefore signed up to beckett.com as it seems to be the only way to stay clued up on the value of the cards. This can however get rather pricy if, like me, you enjoy knowing the value of what you are busting and you keep buying New Release Prices at $4.99 a piece. But hey, that’s the name of the game I am afraid. I have tried suggesting to Barkers Worldwide Publication to offer Beckett subscription, much like they offer The Hockey News, but I have not been successful.

So there you have it, the life and times of a collector in the UK, I hope these few tips will be useful to fellow European collectors, and if you have some tips to share with me, they will be more than welcome!